December 12th would have been Frank Sinatra's 88th birthday. And to honor "ol' blue eyes" Sal Scognamillo, owner of Patsy's, Sinatra's favorite New York City haunt and shares recipes for some of the sweets that made the "chairman of the board" sing.
Zeppoles Yields 12
6 eggs 2 cups water 2 cups flour 1 tablespoon butter pinch of salt vegetable oil for frying 12 maraschino cherries 2 pounds of ricotta cheese 1 ½ cup sugar 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Bring water, batter, and salt to a boil. When boiling, add flour and stir until thoroughly mixed for about 1 minute. Take off fire. Put into mixing bowl and cool for 10 minutes. Mixing at a medium speed add 1 egg at a time allowing each egg to blend. Put in a pastry bag. Cut wax paper into 3-inch squares and lightly dust with flour. Pipe into doughnut shapes. Heat oil to 35ºf. Carefully slide batter off the wax into the oil. Fry for 7 to 8 minutes turning every couple of minutes. Doughnuts should double in size. Allow to cool. Slice horizontally.Mix ricotta sugar and vanilla extract in another mixing bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips and mix for 10 seconds. Put cream in pastry bag and fill center of zeppole. Press the top of the pastry onto the bottom. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and place a cherry on top of each pastry.
Serves 6 to 8
4 large eggs, separated 1 pint heavy cream 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 8 ounces mascarpone 3 tablespoons cognac 22 ladyfingers 1 ½ cups brewed espresso, chilled 1 tablespoon cocoa
Place egg whites in top of a double boiler and beat over simmering water until the whites form soft peaks. Place egg yolks in top of another double boiler and beat until the yolks are thick and lemon-colored and reach a temperature of 160ºf. Reserve.Whip the cream until soft peaks are formed. Reserve. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar, mascarpone, and cognac, and beat until smooth. Gently fold the reserved egg yolks into the mascarpone mixture, followed by the reserved egg whites and the reserved whipped cream, until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended.Pour the espresso in a small bowl. Dip each ladyfinger in the espresso, and layer them in the bottom and sides of a large glass bowl. Top with ½ of the mascarpone mixture, and a middle layer of espresso-dipped ladyfingers, and spread the remaining mascarpone mixture on top. Sprinkle with cocoa. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
Lemon ricotta torte Serves 8
1 3-pound container whole-milk ricotta cheese 1 2/3 cups sugar 3 extra-large eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla extract Zest from 1 lemon Butter and flour, for greasing pan
Preheat the oven to 400º f. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and juice from the lemon until well blended. Butter and flour a 9x2- inch round baking pan. Spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. To prevent the spillage of rising batter over the side of the pan, construct a collar around the pan that extends at least two inches above the top with a sheet of aluminum foil folded in half lengthwise and secured with tape. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 55 minutes.Refrigerate for three to four hours. Remove from refrigerator and allow to return to room temperature before serving.